Risks of open loops systems?

Discussion in 'Open Loop' started by thackery, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. thackery

    thackery New Member

    I was mailed a "Tax Rebate Certificate" from my installer. My system was installed in June 2008.

    Does anyone know how to use this, or if there actually is a tax rebate.
    I typically use Turbotax, and it does not show any entries for geo. only solar systems, or hybrid cars.

    There are likely a bunch of people that would be interested in this if it is valid.
    I'll keep looking elsewhere to see what information is out there.
    I did find a small thread in this forum under the "US legislative and regulatory" but it did not come to a certain conclusion.


    The certificate states the following.
    "The new law offers a one time tax credit of 30% of the total investment up to amximum creit of $2000.00 for all residential ground loop or ground water geothermal heat pump installations. A credit of 10% of the total investment is also available without a miximum credit limit for commercial installation.

    To qualify, the systems must meet or exceed Energy Star requirements and be installed after Dec. 31, 2007. Please complet the information below,and keep this certificate for your records. Consult your tax advisor for further information.
  2. danielz

    danielz New Member

    Turbo Tax will support it late January

    On their web site it has a list of the forms that are not completed yet.
    Turbo Tax (Intuit) posted expected dates for the form to be in their system.

    Form 5695, Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit
    Date for Print 01/22/2009 01/22/2009 01/21/2009
    Date for Efile 01/22/2009 01/22/2009 01/21/2009

    The link for all forms / dates of availability are at: 2008 Federal Forms for Personal Tax Returns - TurboTax® Customer Care & Support
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    TurboTax hasn't updated their package yet, but the IRS has published the new 2008 Form 5695 at the following link: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf This is for the 2008 tax year, but it also lasts until 2016.

    Line 18 on the form is where you enter "Qualified geothermal heat pump property costs", Line 19 is where you multiply that by 30%, and Line 20 displays the $2,000 "Maximum credit amount".

    The Instructions provide additional information, including "costs are treated as being paid when the original installation of the item is completed, or in the case of costs connected with the construction or reconstruction of your home, when your original use of the constructed or reconstructed home begins." The Instructions also say "To qualify for the credit, the geothermal heat pump property must meet the requirements of the Energy Star program that are in effect at the time of purchase. The home does not have to be your main home." As usual, contact your tax professional for applicability to your specific situation.
  4. rw1995

    rw1995 Member

    Perfect. Its getting closer to being a done deal. This is a credit too, not a dededuction, which should come off of the "amount you owe" right?
  5. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    yes .
  6. thackery

    thackery New Member

    good news

    That is really good news. I was getting worried. The $2000.00 will be a big help. Thanks for the replies.
  7. Jay

    It does come off of the amount you owe, and it can be carried froward into the years after... see the explanation; Egg Systems International Complete Rooftop Cooling Systems: Home
  8. cmp9

    cmp9 Member


    I'm new to these forums, and they've been incredibly helpful. We live in central NY (near Ithaca) and are currently in the process of meeting with contractors and gathering estimates for installation of geo heating and cooling system in our home. We currently use a propane boiler with baseboard heat and wood-burning inserts (the latter mostly, due to cost) for heating; and window units (several!) for cooling. We want to go geo, both to have a sustainable heating system, get central air, and get completely off propane (and have all of the work associated with wood heat become optional).

    We have plenty of land for a closed loop system, but we are also on a drilled well with a creek 30' from our house for discharge, so open loop is an option (assuming well flow rate will suffice).

    Can anyone help us think critically about risks with open loop systems? Specifically:

    1) What are the chances that our well will run dry or low, essentially leaving us without water or heat? We have not yet had a flow rate test, so I know that will tell us if we can even provide enough supply, but what about 5 or 10 years down the road? How big of a risk would we be taking?

    2) Our water is hard. How big of an equipment risk is this, and can't it be mitigated by softening? Or would that be crazy, given the volume?

    3) This is the hardest one, and I don't really expect an answer, just thoughts...what will the impact be on home value/sellability. Obviously, we plan to stay in our house, or we wouldn't even consider the investment. That said, anything can happen. Geo I think is already a big mystery to most people, but at least a closed loop, once they understand it, won't sound risky. I fear that open loops would make the average home buyer worry, just like me...will the water run out?

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for your thoughts!

  9. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Hi Cris and welcome,

    1. Very possible, consult your local drilling contractor for more info

    2. Softning is crazy, but the hardness depends specifically on actual data not perceptions.

    3. No matter what peoples perception is. a history of monthly operating expenses included in any sales info will speak for itself.

    Geo is all about the people who install it daily. Find a contractor in your area that you trust with a lot of installs under their belt, and they will guide you to the most cost effective system for your area tat they are willing to garrauntee the results for. Hope this helps
  10. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I would add to Eric's post...

    Hard water can cause a fouling situation with the heat exchanger. Some water can be very aggressive on the heat exchanger as well.

    So have the water tested and compare the results to the manufacturer's specs. That will help with the open and closed debate.

    I have stated my concern about aquifer depletion on this board many times and am not ashamed to mention it again. I prefer not to pump and dump.

    Since your home is already using a hydronic system I would suggest you work with a contractor that has a proven track record for successful duct work retro fits. If he/she has a knowledge of hydronis all the better.

    I might design a water to water system for you using high velocity hydro air handlers. You already own the boiler and the piping why throw it away?
  11. cmp9

    cmp9 Member

    Thanks for the replies so far!

    Our current baseboard system was original to the house and in bad shape, so we'd need to, at a minimum, replace at least some of the baseboard anyway. Additionally, the current boiler (and water pipes) are in a location that, as part of this project, we want to clear for living space (we are building a new mechanical room area). Finally, we want cooling, filtration and humidity control from the system, so the ductwork infrastructure is a given. Our first contractor said they could do a combo water to water and water to air system, but it would add to the expense. To us, the water to air system as a single solution seemed most economical/simple.

    Plus, our house is a raised ranch with 9 foot basement ceilings, so the retrofit to ductwork will be fairly straight forward.

    Please, punch holes in any of the above! Our ideal would be water to water with in-floor radiant heat and cooling, air filtration and humidity control through ducts, but it just seems like that would price us out of doing the whole project!

    Thanks again.
  12. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    There is either time or money

    I am trying to figure out why one can not seem to have both.

    I love water to air coupled with a water to water heat pump. Google high velosity air conditioning.

    You still own the equipment so rather than trash what you have move the boiler and reroute the water flow.
  13. cmp9

    cmp9 Member

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the continued attention.

    I don't think I understand what you mean about keeping the current equipment. It is a propane boiler, and we will be eliminating our propane tank. Are you suggesting we can somehow keep the current furnace and use it in a geothermal setup?
  14. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    I'm not a pro. I recall that manufacturers make a cupro-nickel heat exchanger to be used on open loop systems. I believe your maintenance schedule with an open loop system will be determined by your water quality.

    A very interested buyer may do some research on open loop systems. They may or may not be scared for the reasons you mentioned and/or because of the potential maintenance involved. A buyer may make a reduced offer on the house because of the unknown, but who knows.

    Keep your utility bills from before and after the geothermal installation. They may help sell the house.
  15. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    YES if you want to.

    Why discard good equipment? If you can move it in the building.

    I could say lets do a bazillion dollar over haul with all new stuff, but I can not. I re-use what ever I can in a retro-fit.
  16. hardchines

    hardchines Member Forum Leader

    I am a Mark also, when I converted to geo 1.5 years ago I kept my entire oil system intact as that other Mark may be suggesting. A hot water radiator can be installed above or after the air handler or Geo package, if for any reason your geo is down you just turn on the oil or in your case propane boiler and the hot water from the boiler is circulated through the radiator, the geo fan blows the air through it and you have heat. Reasons to do this would be , backup heat if geo fail, if propane is cheaper then electric, if you have to wait for a service guy or part for geo unit (not like you will have twenty five companies with trained technicians like a oil/propane unit). Also if very cold outside instead of running the resistance heaters that you will be paying for as a option (huge power suckers,excuse the technical nomenclature)and your system does not keep up with enough heat which is what the designers say is the way to go (I do not agree with this at all) you can turn on the propane to get you through the cold days much cheaper then the electric. If you have a great well and can reintroduce the water via a dry well or stream you will save allot of money and have water temps that closed loop folks can only dream about, this will give you better efficiency and also save money. I think you will find few installers that will not recommend closed loop, large part of their profit. I have mineral rich water and run open loop I have back flushed twice and can say heat exchanger is clean and the job takes a couple of minutes. You will be hard pressed to find a open loop complaint on this forum, you will be equally hard pressed to find a page without complaints about poor performance from closed loop systems. I think Eric mentioned "its all about who does the job", this is true but we keep hearing about night mares from folks that had the best guy in town do the job. Seems like 90% of the time it is poor performance from the heat exchanger wells or field, I think the word is undersized to describe most situations.

    I live in NY and pay NY electric bills and love my GEO. system.

    If I had my choice I would have a huge closed loop system , but my up front cost would make doing the job imposable, and worthless as I would never recover the cost. JMHO
  17. hardchines

    hardchines Member Forum Leader

    Mark I hope to be a "bazillion-air" some day. :D Mark R.
  18. cmp9

    cmp9 Member

    Ahhh..now I understand. The concern is about backup.

    We have two fireplaces with high-efficiency wood burning inserts in them, and that will be our backup/supplemental heat, if/when necessary.

    We would definitely also have the electric strip backup installed, but that would only be for emergency (say if we're out of town). I'm assuming you can turn those things off if you want to.

    We'll sell the existing furnace. Not for a lot, but I'm sure someone will want it.
  19. cnygeo

    cnygeo New Member

    I don't have a lot to add, but I'm also near Ithaca so I feel compelled to post! As others have said, the risks of open-loop basically come down to well capacity and water quality. Capacity is probably the bigger issue - is your well capable of supplying something on the order of 10-15,000 gallons per day at peak loads and maybe as much as a million gallons in a year (depends completely on your heating and cooling loads, obviously)?

    I suspect if you're currently burning wood you might not mind flushing a heat exchanger every so often. I don't have any experience to say how often it might be required, or if there are other issues with our water around here. I believe a lot of wells have a lot of iron and/or sulfur locally. I'm on village water so I've never looked into it closely. Water softening is not an option given the volumes involved.

    The advantages are obviously cost and, assuming the water level in your well isn't too deep, higher efficiencies. You could always install it first as an open loop system and if you run into trouble down the road convert to closed loop.

    I designed and installed my own system so I'm afraid I can't recommend a contractor but definitely check references, make sure they know how to size the system correctly, etc. If you want to email or PM me I can tell you one company that was obviously in way over their heads when I had them quote a system, though that was a few years ago so maybe they've learned since then. A co-worker used geo-therm (sp?) out of Tully and his system seems to be working out for him so far.

    Good luck!
  20. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I've had open loop for 10+ years and it is very economical for me to operate. However I have a flowing well such that I do not need to pump the water to my geo.

    For many open loop systems, well pump power is significant and must be considered in evaluating operating cost of the system. If well water is deep, pumping power could be a significant fraction of total system power and push the economics toward closed loop. Open loop geo uses 10-50x more water than domestic uses, so the well and its pump are heavily loaded.

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